Monday, 26 November 2012

Clunk CLICK Every Trip!

Remember that advert from long ago – ah the power of advertising!
However, this post has nothing whatsoever to do with advertising, or driving and seatbelts for that matter.

Clicker training.
Don’t know if you are anything like me. I’ve read a few books on this subject with some fascination. It is by all accounts the panacea for most things doggy and training. HOWEVER, having gone down this route with Cairid and not seeing any life changing difference, I kinda put it in one of those boxes in my head – you know the ones, only to be opened at Christmas, birthdays or bar mitzvahs.
That is, until I read ‘The Culture Clash’ by Jean Donaldson. Talk about a light bulb going off….! You START by associating the click with a reinforcer (treat). NOTHING ELSE. This is what all of the other books I’ve read have chosen to neglect to tell me. So, once you know that your wee soul clearly associates the click with the reward of a treat, THEN you can build in the cues or prompts like ‘sit/stay’ (click – treat). As is widely known, the ‘click’ has the distinct advantage of being the same sound every time, no tonal inflections or change of volume i.e. it is CONSTANT. Bingo! Just shows you that, as with anything else in life with our dogs, you do not start in the middle of something and work out. Get it right from the beginning and the rewards are there a) for you and b) most importantly for your dog.

That is just one of the fabulous pieces in her book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. She has an ethos that is totally true for all interactions with our dogs – there is only ‘black’ and ‘white’. No grey areas. Do yourselves a big favour and buy this, read it, and use it as your training manual from now on.

Monday, 12 November 2012


Nothing is taken for granted these days.  We no longer trust “authority” – whether it’s banks, politicians, or any other decision-making body that takes care of particular aspects of our lives.
Sometimes it feels as though you’re a lone voice, unheard or unheeded.  Gradually, though, momentum gathers and changes happen.

You could be forgiven for feeling sorry for vets at the moment.  A major source of their income comes from annual vaccines for dogs and cats, and increasingly, pet rabbits.  With a growing body of evidence suggesting that annual vaccines are unnecessary and sometimes – maybe often – harmful, more and more people are opting not to have their pets vaccinated annually.

Canine Health Concern are currently helping to make vets aware that there is an alternative, which means that pets will still get their annual check-up (something many people avoid because they don’t want to be talked into vaccinating) and vets will not lose income through not vaccinating.  There are titer tests available that check pets’ immunity, and every vet in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe and the USA) will receive a letter from Canine Health Concern giving information about this.  It’s good to know people will have a choice in future.